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Can I get Plusnet broadband and fibre broadband?

By Emma Woollacott
Wednesday, May 9th 2018

With its down-to-earth advertising and down-to-earth prices, Plusnet enjoys a great reputation with its customers. But what services does the company offer, and can you get them in your area?

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Getting Plusnet broadband installed

Like most of the UK's broadband providers, Plusnet runs its services across the Openreach broadband network. As a result, switching to Plusnet broadband should be a pretty seamless process, unless you don't already have a phone line or are switching from Virgin Media, which runs on its own, separate network.

If this is the case, the company will let you know if you need an engineer to visit, and arrange a time to suit you. Work may also need to be carried out at the telephone exchange and green cabinet, and this could mean that you lose your service for a short while.

If the switch is straightforward, it should take between 10 and 12 days to get you up and running with Plusnet. As with any change of provider, you may find that your broadband speeds vary over the first ten days. This is simply the system working out the best combination of speed and stability for you, so be patient while it sorts itself out.

If you're switching from another provider, in most cases all you'll need to do is tell Plusnet who will then get in touch with your current provider and coordinate the switchover for you. The exception to this is if you're switching from Virgin Media, in which case you'll need to sort out the cancellation yourself.

Equipment charges

Plusnet supplies a free router with its broadband packages, claiming it's worth £40. Late in 2017, though, the company was called out by the Advertising Standards Authority for not making it clear that there's a £4.99 delivery charge for the router. As a result, the upfront charge for activation is now clearly advertised, ranging from £5 to £25 depending on the package you choose.

Bundling Plusnet broadband with Plusnet mobile

If you have Plusnet broadband, you're entitled to what the company calls 'mates rates' on a phone contract with Plusnet Mobile. This generally means a big bump-up of the amount of data, calls and texts that you get for your money – in some cases up to triple the amount of data.

plusnet mobile offers some great sim-only deals

Plusnet Mobile runs on the EE 4G network, meaning good speeds and coverage across the UK. All its SIM-only deals last for 30 days, so there are no long contracts.

Bundling Plusnet broadband with TV

If you have Plusnet Fibre Unlimited or Plusnet Fibre Unlimited Extra with a minimum estimated line speed of 15Mbps, you can get the company's YouView TV service.

You'll get 20 premium entertainment channels and over 70 Freeview TV and radio channels included as standard. Also included are the BT Sport Lite channels, giving you all the action from the BT Sport 1 Channel, including 42 exclusive live Premier League matches.

If that's not enough sport for you, you can also sign up for BT Sport and the BT Sport App for a little extra money each month. Other optional extras include the kids' channel pack, Entertainment Plus and an HD channel pack that gives you all available HD versions of the channels. All these add-ons cost a fiver a month or less.

There's a seven-day scroll back feature, offering catch-up TV from BBC iPlayer, the ITV Hub, All 4 and Demand 5, with a big library of on-demand programmes, series, films and radio. You can also choose to subscribe to Netflix and watch directly on your YouView box.

With the YouView+ box, you can pause and rewind live TV, and record up to 300 hours of standard definition TV, or 150 hours of HD, as well as watching one show while recording another.

I can't get it – when will Plusnet broadband be available in my area?

With the fibre broadband rollout now extending to almost 100% of the UK population, you would be extremely unlucky not to have coverage where you are. However, if you can't get fibre with Plusnet, you should still be able to get standard broadband. If not, its worth seeing if Virgin Media is available where you are as it operates over a separate network.

It's worth knowing that Plusnet is unique in operating an unusual pricing scheme, whereby it charges customers in areas that are easier to reach (known as low-cost areas) less than customers living in the harder-to-reach areas (non-low-cost).

Around 90% of the UK is currently categorised as a low-cost area. The company says that while it may re-grade a non-low-cost area as low-cost, it will never do the opposite, meaning that if you get the cheaper rate to start with, you'll be able to keep it.

a bt openreach van

If you live in the middle of a city, you can be fairly confident that you're part of one of Plusnet's low-cost areas. To be sure, though, and to find out what it means in terms of charges, you should phone the company or use the company's online sign-up.

You'll be asked for your phone number and postcode, which will allow Plusnet to establish which type of area you're in and tell you exactly where you stand in terms of the price you'll pay.

What is Plusnet broadband?

Plusnet was founded back in 1997 and became a public limited company in 2004. It's always been based in Sheffield and Leeds, where its customer service staff are sited. The company was taken over by BT in 2007, but continues to operate as a separate business.

The company makes a big selling point of its northern roots and helpful customer service; although, it has to be said, it doesn't always live up to the hype. In a recent Ofcom report, the company's broadband customers were found to be the second-most likely to complain, with 113 complaints per 100,000 subscribers.

How does Plusnet broadband work?

As we've seen – and as you'd expect, given the fact it is owned by BT – Plusnet runs its services over the Openreach network. It offers one standard broadband plan and two fibre options. The basic broadband service is advertised as having an average speed of 10Mbps; this tallies with Ofcom figures from 2017, which show that in practice most customers actually get 9.6Mbps to 11.4Mbps.

a fibre network

Unlimited Fibre offers a top average speed of 36Mbps. Meanwhile, Unlimited Fibre Plus is billed as having a top average speed of 66Mbps. Plusnet is one of only a few providers to offer broadband as a standalone option, without requiring you to take a home phone plan as well. Be warned, though, that if you do go for this option, you will still have to pay line rental for a BT phone line, so you may well find that it costs you more in the end.

Plusnet routers

If you're signing up for Plusnet's basic broadband service, you'll get its 2704n router supplied as standard. It's pretty basic, but is perfectly good for the job, with an ADSL socket and four ethernet sockets.

Meanwhile, if you plump for one of the company's fibre options, either Unlimited Fibre or Unlimited Fibre Extra, you'll get sent one of its Hub One routers, which is actually a rebranded BT Hub 5.

The device supports dual-band wi-fi, allowing it to pick the best of the two bands to transfer data, maximising internet speeds and reliability. There's a USB port to allow you to connect things like storage devices and printers.

Unlike its predecessor, the Hub One is enabled for fibre optic connections, meaning you don't need a separate BT Openreach modem any more. Both devices are quick and easy to set up.

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This ensures you receive accurate information on the availability of providers and packages in your area.

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